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May 27, 2022

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Attorney General Steve Marshall Files Federal Court Brief Supporting Florida Law Banning Sanctuary Cities

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a brief in a federal appellate court this week in support of a Florida law requiring local governments to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration laws. Attorney General Marshall argued that a lower federal court engaged in legislating from the bench when it enjoined enforcement of the law on the ground that the Florida Legislature had acted with hidden racist intent.

In June of 2019, the State of Florida enacted a law that required state and local governments to support and cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. Florida’s sanctuary cities ban was subsequently invalidated by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in September of 2021 after the court essentially declared that opposition to unlawful immigration is racist and thus found that the Florida Legislature was motivated by discrimination when it tried to ensure that federal immigration laws are enforced.

In an amicus brief co-led by Georgia and supported by 15 other states, Attorney General Marshall asserted that the federal district court overstepped its constitutional role when it ruled against Florida’s sanctuary cities law.

“In our ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people,’ legislatures legislate. Courts do not,” Attorney General Marshall stated.

“A legislative judgment that federal immigration laws should be enforced is not an extreme or suspect position. Yet the district court invalidated Florida law because it thinks Florida acted with secret discriminatory intent.

“An unelected federal judge apparently disagrees with Florida’s political judgment about whether immigration laws should be enforced, but that should not be relevant. My hope is that the Eleventh Circuit undoes the district court’s troubling ruling and puts an end to this practice of legislation by judicial fiat.”

The amicus brief was filed Wednesday before the U.S. 11 Circuit Court of Appeals by Attorney General Marshall and attorneys general from Georgia, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

The attorneys’ general brief can be read here.

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